BackStory with the American History Guys

GroupAccount image

BackStory is a weekly one-hour public radio show that provides a national broadcast audience with an enjoyable and accessible way of engaging challenging themes in American history and how they connect with today. The show is hosted by renowned historians Peter Onuf, Ed Ayers, and Brian Balogh. BackStory’s signature sound and spirit of inquiry emanates from the hearts and minds of its genial hosts, whose unscripted brilliance reflects a warmth and rapport that comes from their longtime friendship.

Please confirm carriage of BackStory with the American History Guys by contacting Melissa LaCasse at 207.776.4926 or lacassemelissa@gmail.com.

Moving from current headlines to drill down into U.S. history, each surprising BackStory episode features lively interviews with a diverse roster of scholars, experts, and ordinary citizens from around the country; listener calls; host discussions; and produced pieces. Topics are as diverse as college sports, reenactments, sugar, memorials, domestic terrorism, birthing, homeownership, the post office, philanthropy, protests, privacy, marriage, revivalism, and childhood—all in the context of American history.

Since BackStory first began as a monthly show in 2008, episodes have been broadcast by more than 130 primary stations in 39 states, 29 in the top 50 markets by population. Podcasts have been downloaded 1.4 million times.

BackStory is produced by VFH Radio at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Major funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities with additional corporate, foundation, institutional, and individual support.

Please visit our station landing page for upcoming episodes, promotional photos, and other information.

 


Pieces

Piece image
Producer Eric Mennel tells the story of a 24-second experiment that saved one of America’s most beloved sports. This story is part of the BackStory...

  • Added: Oct 31, 2014
  • Length: 07:00
Piece image
Contributor Meg Cramer tells the story of the first electrically lit town in America — Wabash, Indiana. This story is part of BackStory episode "On...

  • Added: Oct 31, 2014
  • Length: 06:21
Caption: Classroom in the Islamic School in Seattle, Washington, 1982., Credit: Library of Congress
Scholar Su’ad Abdul Khabeer tells BackStory producer Kelly Jones about Islam’s impact on hip-hop – and how hip-hop opened doors between different M...

  • Added: Oct 31, 2014
  • Length: 08:35
Caption: Classroom in the Islamic School in Seattle, Washington, 1982., Credit: Library of Congress
Anthropologist Nabeel Abraham tells host Brian Balogh about the fight between two Muslim communities over the future of a Dearborn, Michigan mosque...

  • Added: Oct 31, 2014
  • Length: 09:42
Caption: Classroom in the Islamic School in Seattle, Washington, 1982., Credit: Library of Congress
Frank Cogliano of the University of Edinburgh speaks with host Peter Onuf about the first Barbary War, which has often been cast as the first confl...

  • Added: Oct 31, 2014
  • Length: 09:05
Caption: Classroom in the Islamic School in Seattle, Washington, 1982., Credit: Library of Congress
Sylviane Diouf of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture talks with Ed Ayers about some of the overlooked legacies of enslaved Muslims ...

  • Added: Oct 31, 2014
  • Length: 06:24
Piece image
In 1883, a coalition of railroad officials carved the continental U.S. into five time zones, introducing Americans to the idea of “standard time.” ...

Bought by KUOW and WYAP


  • Added: Oct 31, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 2
Piece image
In 1883, a coalition of railroad officials carved the continental U.S. into five time zones, introducing Americans to the idea of “standard time.” ...

  • Added: Oct 31, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
Piece image
30-second promo for "On the Clock," with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag

Bought by 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Oct 28, 2014
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Classroom in the Islamic School in Seattle, Washington, 1982., Credit: Library of Congress
The fastest growing major religion in the world today, Islam has some 1.6 billion followers practicing a wide array of religious traditions and spe...

Bought by KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, KBRP Community Radio, WRIR, WRGY, 90.1 WFYI Public Radio and more


  • Added: Oct 24, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: Classroom in the Islamic School in Seattle, Washington, 1982., Credit: Library of Congress
The fastest growing major religion in the world today, Islam has some 1.6 billion followers practicing a wide array of religious traditions and spe...

  • Added: Oct 24, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Classroom in the Islamic School in Seattle, Washington, 1982., Credit: Library of Congress
30-second promo for "Islam & the United States," with 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

  • Added: Oct 22, 2014
  • Length: :30
Caption: A version of Barnum's Feejee Mermaid. It may actually be his... in true Barnum fashion, the origins are unknown.
In America, you can be anything you want to be. Or anyone. Literally. So on this edition of BackStory, we dig into the long story of confidence men...

Bought by WRGY, RadioFreePalmer, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, WEZU, and WRIR


  • Added: Oct 17, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: A version of Barnum's Feejee Mermaid. It may actually be his... in true Barnum fashion, the origins are unknown.
In America, you can be anything you want to be. Or anyone. Literally. So on this edition of BackStory, we dig into the long story of confidence men...

  • Added: Oct 17, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: A version of Barnum's Feejee Mermaid. It may actually be his... in true Barnum fashion, the origins are unknown.
30-second promo for "Bridge For Sale:Deception in America" 5-second music bed at end for station-specific time/date tag.

Bought by WRGY and 90.1 WFYI Public Radio


  • Added: Oct 14, 2014
  • Length: :30
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Title page of "History of the United States," Vol. 1, showing Columbus with sword and banner.  , Credit: Library of Congress
Columbus remains a central figure in American history: his name has been worked into numerous cities across the United States, ships, universities ...

Bought by XRAY.fm, KSVR Studios: Skagit Valley Radio, KBRP Community Radio, WRIR, WYAP and more


  • Added: Oct 10, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 6
Caption: Title page of "History of the United States," Vol. 1, showing Columbus with sword and banner. , Credit: Library of Congress
Christopher Columbus remains a central figure in American history: his name has been worked into numerous cities across the United States, ships, u...

  • Added: Oct 10, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
Caption: Pedro Pan girls, Florida City, Fla., 1962.  , Credit: Courtesy of Ileana Ortega Menéndez.
Historian Tsianina Lomawaima talks about the enduring legacy of Indian boarding schools, which sought to forcibly integrate tribal children into wh...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Oct 08, 2014
  • Length: 09:31
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Pedro Pan girls, Florida City, Fla., 1962.  , Credit: Courtesy of Ileana Ortega Menéndez.
For nearly 75 years, children from the orphanages of New York and other cities were shipped west to families in the West who needed farm labor. Som...

Bought by PRX Remix


  • Added: Oct 08, 2014
  • Length: 08:05
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Pedro Pan girls, Florida City, Fla., 1962.  , Credit: Courtesy of Ileana Ortega Menéndez.
BackStory editor Robert Armangol explores the legacy of Operation Pedro Pan, a plan to save Cuban children from communist indoctrination by leaving...

  • Added: Oct 08, 2014
  • Length: 12:09